Part 3

Epilogue

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

3:33-6:30PM
As soon as she comes out, little Josephine is put right on Tracy’s chest for skin to skin contact. I just remember us both saying, “It’s our baby; it’s our baby.” She really took her time but she was so cute and loved immediately. The skin-to-skin contact and “first hour of life” bonding was very important to Tracy and me. Newborns do crazy biologic feats during this period. They are actually able to crawl to birth mother’s breast and latch on. This immediate skin-to-skin contact also gets the baby’s temperature up naturally without the need for a heat lamp. Here’s some more info:

Studies have shown that infants who are placed in skin-to-skin contact with their mothers seldom cry during their first 90 minutes of life, while infants who are immediately shuttled over to a bassinet tend to cry for 20 to 40 seconds during each 5-minute period over the next 90 minutes. Enjoying some skin-to-skin contact is the ideal way to welcome your baby to the world: your body helps to keep your baby warm while providing the closest thing to a womb-like environment that she’ll likely ever experience again.

Approximately 30 to 40 minutes after the birth, your baby will start making mouthing movements. She may even smack her lips. Saliva will begin to drop down her chin, signaling in no uncertain terms that she’s ready to test-drive her sucking reflex on something other than her own hands. So powerful is this desire to suck that babies placed on their mothers’ abdomens are actually able to find their way to the breast by using a combination of arm and leg movements. (It doesn’t happen quickly, mind you; apparently it can take the better part of an hour for the baby to make the trek.) Researchers think the baby is guided to the breast by her sense of smell. Apparently, the baby uses the taste and smell of amniotic fluid on her hands to make a connection to a breast secretion something that has led some hospitals to decide to delay washing a newborn baby’s hands during this initial period of mother-baby bonding.A Star Is Born [WebMD Medical Reference from “The Mother of All Baby Books”]

[Note from Tracy: We watched a video of a newborn baby on their mother’s chest, skin-on-skin, I think in breastfeeding class. The little baby made it’s way to the breast and latched on and that’s exactly how it happened with Phine. It was AMAZING. I’m so glad we got that bonding time and I really appreciate Pennsylvania Hospital being so supportive of skin-on-skin and non-separation.]

She needed a little bit of bulbsuctioning to help clear her little lungs. I stayed with Phine the entire time the nurse checked her out and cleaned her up. I missed most of Tracy being stitched up but keep looking back and forth between the two. Dr. Lokey also had to pack up the cord blood which we were donating.

One of the things Tracy most feared about giving birth was actually having to be catherized. This is something they would do if she had an epidural. So what happens? After 96 hours, including the 3 1/2 hours of pushing, Tracy’s bladder filled with litters of IV fluid and apple juice, is trapped by her uterus. If she can’t pee, the nurse is going to catherize her. Well of course, Tracy couldn’t pee and eventually had to be catherized. An entire liter of urine was extracted.

[Note from Tracy: How ironic, my #1 silly fear regarding childbirth comes into play after I’ve given birth. I was frusterated, because here I had this brand new baby I wanted to spend time with and I was all tied up trying to pee. I kinda freaked when they tried to catherize me the first time, but then I relaxed and they were able to do it. It wasn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, but it wasn’t so bad.]

We were able to put off her vitamin K shot and eye goo until all this medical follow-up was completed. Once the nurse took care of these things, the three of us then got to spend time alone for the first time.


6:30-8PM

As they were getting ready to transfer us to the maternity ward, Shawn came in early for her shift to meet Josephine and check up on things. They arranged to give Phine her bath in our room (normally they would take the baby to the “nursery” to do this). They also did her evaluation. By this time Kim and Kate had received Tracy’s request and were on their way back to the hospital. My brother Robert and his girlfriend Hannah were also in route. We expected that they could meet us up in maternity before visiting hours ended at 8pm.

This is when hospital politics entered the scene. For some reason, the maternity floors seem to have an issue with nonseparation. They got all pissy about the bath and then wouldn’t admit Tracy and Josephine until someone from their floor came down and did the evaluation. It’s amazing how this jeuvenile behavior follows us our whole lives, well past junior high. The L&D team really took care of us though. They arranged from someone to come down and do the evaluation. This would mean staying in L&D for another hour. What about all our visitors? Well the team came through again. Uncle Gregory showed up without notice around the same time that Robert and Hannah arrived. Since Kim and Kate already had pink braclets to let them in, the nurses allowed the other 3 visitors in. At 6, we were well over the 3 total people in the room! I’m sure they got flak for that, too!

L&D SushiI’m not sure at what moment after the delivery Tracy started demanding sushi. It was very soon. Not even her own blood splattered all over the floor was going to prevent Tracy from having her first sashimi since last fall. Look at that face!

We were lucky the paparazzi showed up to capture Phine’s first visitors. Uncle Robert was checking in constantly throughout the labor via text messaging. I don’t think any of us expected a 96 hour labor. Hopefully, Josephine will be as determined, patient and committed as Tracy has been throughout this entire process. Little Phine was definitely worth the wait!
[Note from Tracy: I have to say now that everything is said and done, natural childbirth is totally doable! Even though I didn’t have a totally unmedicated birth I was unmedicated at the end and that’s the part I feared the most. I swear at that point the endorphins kicked in and it wasn’t as painful as I anticipated.]